When the renovated Public Square opened to bus traffic in March 2017 — after a bitter, obstinate, wrong-headed battle by mayor Frank Jackson
against the Federal Transit Administration, RTA, city council, transit advocates and basically every reasonable person in Cleveland — it debuted with decidedly ugly safety features
, including concrete jersey barriers that marred what should have been an open, interconnected design.
A couple of assumptions were at play: That the barriers, installed by the city, were temporary and would eventually be replaced with bollards; and that Jackson, who was grudgingly forced to include bus traffic through the square, figured that if he lost the fight, he might as well make the transit-friendly square as aesthetically unappealing as possible.
More than a year since then, it seems we might finally have a resolution as the city-county Group Plan Commission released designs this week that would have the jersey barriers replaced by bollards. The small hiccup: It would cost $2 million. Ideally, commission chair Anthony Coyne told the Plain Dealer
, that money would come from a mix of public, private and philanthropic sources.
Construction would take less than two months, and the bollards and additional proposed features would satisfy Jackson's concerns about safety and terrorism.
How dumb is all of this? Super dumb. Not only should the bollards have been included from the start, but Jackson's decision to instead use the jersey barriers has cost the city $88,794, according to the PD, since they are removed for special events on the square at a cost to the city of $9,800 per event.
This has been your periodic reminder that Frank Jackson single handedly fucked up Public Square.